The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion’s pres­i­dent and global ceo Brett Toll­man spoke ex­clu­sively with trav­el­bul­letin last month in his first joint in­ter­view with re­gional head John Veitch who joined the com­pany from Flight Cen­tre 18 months ago. Guy Dundas re­ports.

Travel Bulletin - - ISUES & TRENDS -

A cus­tomer-cen­tric ap­proach and be­ing in­no­va­tive with prod­uct de­vel­op­ment is the bedrock of the brands at The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion to help en­sure the com­pany “stays rel­e­vant and suc­cess­ful for the fu­ture”, says pres­i­dent and ceo, Brett Toll­man. The fourth-gen­er­a­tion, fam­ily-owned travel com­pany has a di­verse port­fo­lio of busi­nesses around the globe, the bulk of which are es­corted tour­ing and cruise pro­grams sold through the likes of In­sight Va­ca­tions, Trafal­gar, Con­tiki and Uni­world. Toll­man says stay­ing per­ti­nent to con­sumers is vi­tal, with the busi­ness bor­der­ing on ob­ses­sive with guest ex­pe­ri­ence, to the point where Toll­man’s mother still re­views hun­dreds of faxes (yes, faxes!) ev­ery day to ad­dress any con­cerns from TTC’S 17 gen­eral man­agers glob­ally. Be­ing re­spon­sive is key.

Trans­parency to­day is what it’s all about it. We be­lieve em­brac­ing it rather it’ than hid­ing from

“Our phi­los­o­phy is if there ever is an is­sue, to re­solve it while the guest is still with us. It’s cru­cial to de­liver on their holiday of a life­time and their ex­pec­ta­tions while they are still with us, rather than try­ing to apol­o­gise or sort things out af­ter­wards,” he ex­plained. Trans­parency is also fun­da­men­tal. “Trans­parency to­day is what it’s all about. We be­lieve em­brac­ing it rather than hid­ing from it.” In Syd­ney last month, he told trav­el­bul­letin it was para­mount for TTC to “keep up” with ri­vals, given the sheer scope of choices, chan­nels and disruptors like Airbnb that posed a po­ten­tial threat to tra­di­tional travel com­pa­nies. “It cer­tainly keeps the likes of John and I up at night know­ing the amount of amaz­ing com­pe­ti­tion that is out there. It’s crit­i­cal to make sure that legacy brands like ours can be around for the next decade or two,” Toll­man said. Among The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion’s lat­est de­vel­op­ments is the new youth-based Euro­pean river cruise pro­gram U by Uni­world. To be pitched squarely at the 18-40 year-old mar­ket, U by Uni­world will ride the back of the suc­cess of TTC’S youth brand Con­tiki in tak­ing the prod­uct to mar­ket in com­ing weeks. Mar­keted un­der the par­ent com­pany as well as by Con­tiki, Toll­man said U by Uni­world would not be fully in­clu­sive but would pro­vide a gen­er­ous mix of in­clu­sions and op­tional ex­tras. Be­yond guest ser­vices and prod­uct, new trade in­no­va­tions have been rolled out re­cently or are un­der­way. “Our en­tire his­tory has al­ways been based on, de­pen­dent on, and loyal to our travel trade part­ners,” Toll­man said. Among the suite of new pro­grams is the TTC Agent Academy which will de­but in the near fu­ture. Com­pris­ing of a num­ber of mod­ules, the elearn­ing plat­form has been de­vel­oped to ed­u­cate front­line sell­ers on The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion’s breadth of prod­uct. Ini­tially avail­able for Trafal­gar, In­sight, Con­tiki and Uni­world (and ear­marked for Bus­about), Veitch said the Agent Academy would see agents re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion. “It re­in­forces the in­vest­ment of the TTC back into the travel in­dus­try, back into the travel agency chain and con­sor­tias and mak­ing it eas­ier for agents to work with us and book our hol­i­days with con­fi­dence,” Veitch said. Toll­man added that the TTC Agent Academy would re­ward agents with the op­por­tu­nity to join a sched­uled de­par­ture, rather than a place on a group famil, so a con­sul­tant can ex­pe­ri­ence and see ex­actly what a cus­tomer en­coun­ters on tour. An­other ini­tia­tive rolled out re­cently is an air por­tal for agents to use when book­ing hol­i­days with In­sight Va­ca­tions and Trafal­gar. Ac­cessed on­line via the web­sites of both com­pa­nies, the por­tal of­fers a full suite of air­fares to be sold in con­junc­tion with tours. Veitch says the TTC has “rev­o­lu­tionised” the tour­ing mar­ket with its air deals to Europe and the USA. One of the pro­mo­tional fares was a $599 re­turn Econ­omy class ticket to any­where in Italy when sold in con­junc­tion with an In­sight itin­er­ary. With in­creased call cen­tre vol­umes, a quick and easy-to-use so­lu­tion was a ne­ces­sity for agents. “We en­cour­age agents to look at it and use it.”

The Travel Cor­po­ra­tion’s pres­i­dent and global chief ex­ec­u­tive Brett Toll­man in Aus­tralia last month with re­gional head John Veitch.

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